Ancient Monuments

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Section of the Cleave Dyke system known as the Kepwick Dyke on Arden Little Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Kepwick, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3095 / 54°18'34"N

Longitude: -1.2416 / 1°14'29"W

OS Eastings: 449442.746792

OS Northings: 490693.829184

OS Grid: SE494906

Mapcode National: GBR MLSL.0Y

Mapcode Global: WHD84.WYY5

Entry Name: Section of the Cleave Dyke system known as the Kepwick Dyke on Arden Little Moor

Scheduled Date: 11 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013591

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25595

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Kepwick

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Upper Ryedale

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a section of the prehistoric linear boundary system on
the Hambleton Hills, known as the Cleave Dyke. The monument extends for
c.1300m westwards from a gill at the head of Thorodale to terminate by a group
of barrows on the western edge of Arden Little Moor. There is an offshoot
extending for 210m to the south which terminates at a modern quarry and
trackway. The dyke continues as an earthwork some 20m to the south beyond this
disturbance but this section is the subject of a separate scheduling. The
dyke comprises a prominent bank with a flanking ditch lying on the south side
of the main east-west bank and on the east side of the south offshoot.
The bank is 3.5m wide and stands 0.5m high and the ditch is 3.5m wide and 0.6m
deep. There are a number of circular pits, 3.5m in diameter cut into the base
of the ditch, each up to 1.5m deep.
This dyke is part of a wider system of earthworks continuing for 9km north-
south along the western edge of the Hambleton Hills. Shorter east-west
boundaries linked valley heads to the main dyke and thus divided the terrain
into discrete units for agricultural and social purposes. The dyke is
associated with earlier round barrows which also marked the division of land.
Together the monuments on this part of the Hambleton Hills provide important
evidence of territorial organisation and the development of settled
agricultural practices.
There is a field wall and a gravel road crossing the monument. The surface of
the road and the wall are excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Cleave Dyke system is the most westerly of a series of dyke systems on the
Tabular Hills of north east Yorkshire. The name has been given to a series of
linear ditches and banks stretching north-south over 9km parallel with and
close to the western scarp of the Hambleton Hills. The system was constructed
between the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age to augment the natural division
of the terrain by river valleys and watersheds. Significant stretches remain
visible as upstanding earthworks; elsewhere it can be recognised as a cropmark
on aerial photographs. The system formed a prehistoric territorial boundary in
an area largely given over to pastoralism; the impressive scale of the
earthworks displays the corporate prestige of their builders. In some
instances the boundaries have remained in use to the present day. Linear
boundaries are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and
land use in the later prehistoric period; all well preserved examples will
normally merit statutory protection.

This section of the Cleave Dyke system is preserved as a prominent earthwork
for most of its length, forming a very clear division across the landscape. It
is the mostly northerly known section of the Cleave Dyke system. At the west
end it is associated with a group of Bronze Age round barrows. These are
burial mounds with a ritual and social function, which also acted as
territorial markers. Such groupings of monuments offer important scope for the
study of the division of land for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in
different geographical areas during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Spratt, D A , 'The Archaeological Journal' in The Cleave Dyke System, , Vol. VOL 54, (1982), 33-52
ANY 70/27:34 ANY 71/1,

Source: Historic England

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